I-ROADS…!!!!! Heard familiar…. Yeah it’s the same thing that Toyota has unveiled in 2013, a new three-wheeled, fully-electric, and Personal Mobility Vehicle (PMV) with i-ROAD city concept Electric vehicle.This new concept in urban mobility “TOYOTA i-ROAD” combines the potential of both cars and motorbikes. Based on the future of urban transport, they worked to ensure next generation performance in terms of driving, size and environmental performance. This ultra-compact, three-wheeled electric concept looks like a cross between a bike and car.
The i-ROAD is not much larger than a motorcycle with a length of 2,345mm, a height of 1,445mm and with a wheelbase of 1,695mm. It’s It’s most significant dimension is its width: only 850mm. It rides on three wheels, two in the front and one at the rear. Toyota rates it for one passenger. However, there is a rear seat behind the driver which might fit a small child or a bag of groceries. As only 870mm wide, the three-wheeled i-Road is small enough to be driven like a scooter through traffic. The ultra-compactness also makes you feel that roads are wider which also means that four i-ROADS will fit in a single parking bay.…
The i-ROAD uses a conventional steering wheel, but an “Active Lean” system, developed based on the body movement of skiers and running animals, which automatically balances the vehicle when cornering or tackling uneven surfaces. The tricky front-wheel setup keeps it upright without human help. The leaning isn’t done by the driver. Its automatic determined by motor-controller, steering, and gyro inputs, and actuated by a separate motor. It stays quite upright at low speeds; but as soon as the driver speeds up and then rounds a corner, the i-Road leans at more of an angle. It uses a gyro-sensor to tip the top-heavy body into corners to aid cornering stability. Moreover the driver can drive with confidence as no need to balance the vehicle. The system also operates when the PMV is being driven in a straight line over stepped surfaces, the actuator automatically compensating for changes in the road to keep the body level. The computer manages the degree of lean of each front wheel as the angle of lean of one wheel increases, the other lowers by the same amount using steering angle. The minimum turning circle is just three meters. . It also reforms imbalance and road imperfections, while driving in a straight line. All this makes it safe, intuitive and enjoyable to drive.
It has zero carbon dioxide emissions which makes it eco-friendly. It is powered by lithium ion batteries… The i-ROAD is actually front-wheel drive, and no power goes to the rear wheel. Each front wheel features a 2.7-hp in- hub electric motor powered by a shared lithium-ion battery that offers a claimed driving range of 30 miles. The i-Road is also able to charge fully in just about 7
three hours’ time. The i-ROAD can be charged at night or using solar power, which reduces the energy load on communities. It has nearly silent running experience. The i-Road also has interior lighting and heating as well as an audio system and Bluetooth for connecting a phone.
The i-Road will be into service as part of the Ha:Mo – Harmonious Mobility. Toyota has been conducting trial operations of Ha:mo in Toyota City since October 2012. It is a system aimed at relieving traffic congestion, reducing air pollution and improving mobility. The Ha:mo, will allow you to see and avoid traffic congestion via a smartphone app, will notify the bus service if a line is very busy so that another bus can come along and ease up the passenger congestion, and will allow you to get reserved. It links private and public transportation networks and is being trialled between railway stations and depots at public facilities around the city.
It’s really a quite innovative in which one can use it as a motorbike, but without fear of getting wet in rain, and no need to wear a helmet I.e. i-ROAD makes a far better foul-weather proposition than a regular motorcycle. It has much to do with reducing urban traffic congestion and air pollution. Making short distance travel in cities smoother and more enjoyable.
Toyota does not currently sell the i-Road, and what we see are testing prototypes. Hopes this year, prototype turn to a reality with an affordable price. Even though, it’s difficult to predict the i-Road’s future. I am being really optimistic, to see I-road as Toyota’s answer to the demands of the city of the future.
Pros of riding a i-Road include:
- A driving experience like no other
- Its compact size makes easier parking.
- Easy to climb in and out of.
- Highly maneuverable.
- Should easily keep up with busy city traffic.
- Highly mobile in congested areas where bicycles regularly overtake motorized vehicles.
Cones of riding a i-Road include:
- Can go upto only around 30 Miles, Very less compared to Tesla Cars.
- Not much comfortable for toll people.
- Very slow mobility option.
To Understand its lock and feel, please watch this video from a CNET reporter, Explaining his experiences.